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Sophie Raymond




Sophie's pre-adolecent boychecks out the astonishing developments happening below

 



Sophie makes adjustments to her model on her miniature set.\

alumnistories


Sophie Raymond
sophie's animated annecy adventure

 

RMIT graduate Sophie Raymond found out first-hand what it's like having your work shown at a major European animation festival.

I would have to liken myself to a minnow or tuna or some such fish that is anonymous as part of a larger school. For in Annecy, France, at the International Festival of Animation, we all swam round in a strange faceless mass.

A definition between animation makers and watchers was difficult to decipher. Hundreds of quirky-looking people would pile into the venues hour after hour and view animation after animation from all around the world. The occasional Australian accent or unmistakable Aussie humour would reach forth and tug on my nationalistic sensibilities--finding my solitary laughter rising out of turn in amongst the international crowd.

Having a film in the student competition - there were no introductory drinks, no introduction of the animators at the screening, nothing to help us find our way, join forces, or distinguish ourselves amongst the crowds. It wasn't until the last night, when walking through the rain at four in the morning after the big festival closing party, that I discovered through a somewhat drunken haze that some of the faces familiar to me around the camping grounds were in fact animators with films in the student competition.

Yes, we were camping--many of us, in fact. Drenched to the bone as we trudged up the hill that night, one needed only to gaze down at the feet of the others to see the similar nature of the shoestring path they had taken to get here. This was by the by--we were initiated now.

Having your name associated with Annecy, in animation circles, carries with it an instant recognition--of what, I'm not sure. Many immediately sympathise with you over the strange impersonal atmosphere of the event, and how disconcerting that can be. Others, I guess, take it as indication of a certain standard at which you must be.

I have - in true Australian style - been surfing this wave through many an animation studio in France and England on my travels, with Canada and the United States to come. It is interesting to see how animation studios function in relation to their relative markets.

One can't ignore cultural factors as well. Europe tends to nurture their artists more, generally. The different countries have culturally-influenced viewing tastes, which creates a varying market and focus too. To simplify my observations into a trend: France has a big market for 2D traditional animation ; the UK certainly has many more model animation studios.

One of the wonderful things about Annecy was watching these cultural sensibilities articulated side by side in each program.

And Australia? To its credit, it had a larger than usual presence at Annecy this year with animations from all mediums. Visiting Aardman Animations (the creators of Wallace and Gromit, and easily the biggest claymation company in Europe) and being introduced as an 'Australian animator', I was often greeted with a complimentary comment on the quality of the Australian work that they saw in the Annecy Festival. In fact, they are having their own private Aardman screening of some the Australian work at the festival. I was only too pleased to offer some advice as to what Australian beers should accompany this event.

"Coopers and Melbourne Bitter," I said--I just don't drink Fosters.



Sophie Raymond's animated film, Essence of Terror, was screened at the Annecy Animation Festival in France. Annecy is one of the world's largest animation film festivals. Sophie made Essence for her major examination piece in the Graduate Diploma of Animation and Interactive Media (1997). It is a claymation film about a boy who explores the contents of the bathroom's medicine cupboard. He discovers some delicious green goo that which turns him into an adolescent rather more quickly than is good for him. Sophie animated her story frame by frame onto 16 mm film. It was post-produced on video using the Avid Media Composer at the RMIT Centre for Animation and Interactive Media (AIM). In 1998 Sophie obtained an Australian Film Commission grant to take the production to a 16 mm print. Essence of Terror has proven popular with its audience and has been picked up for distribution by the Australian Film Institute.
August 1999


Sophie Raymmond, AIM coursework graduate 1997

animation & interactive media


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